A walking tour with AirBnB Experiences in Copenhagen

I took far less photos yesterday due to cold hands and wanting to listen to our tour guide more than capture the surroundings.

Hygge & Happiness Tour

We booked an AirBnB Experience months ago (this one, specifically) and were so very glad we did. I chose to do it a couple of days into our trip so we would hopefully be better adjusted to the time and be able to get up and out of the house and figure out transit all in time to make our reservation. It was the right thing to do.

Along with learning more about Copenhagen, Hygge and Happiness, we stopped a few places for treats included in the tour; a bakery called Det Rene Brød, for traditional pastry (ironically not called “Danishes” here – they’re called “Vienna Bread”)

Hygge & Happiness Tour

Hygge & Happiness Tour

Took our treats to the Kings Garden to eat and hear some history about the castle (this one, a vacation home for the King with the first, ever, flushable toilet. Set over a mote … so, you know. Functional but not entirely sanitary yet.)

Hygge & Happiness Tour

Between our stops, we’d walk through the streets and talk or ask questions. Besides our family of four, there were 6 other people on our tour as well. Four from California and two from Ohio. 🙂

We made our way to Peter Beier Chocolate for a chocolate tasting, cooking/baking etc in Copenhagen is a serious business and they try to do everything as organically and environmentally friendly as possible (as a business, you also get a tax break for doing so – and with taxes as high as 66% … while most people don’t mind paying the taxes because of what they get back from them – you still take all the breaks that come your way) and the Chocolatier was no different.

The tasting started out with two different morsels – the only difference in them was the soil. The tree variety, treatment, etc etc were all the same – but one tree was next to a river and another was a mile away in an orchard. The first one we tried was from the tree in the orchard. I think it was something like 85% cocoa, and it was a delicious dark chocolate. There was an acidity and bitterness but it was pleasant. Then we tried the morsel from the tree by the river and it was SO DIFFERENT. Sweeter, almost. Less bitter. It was wild – and a great example of how just the soil can affect the taste of our food.

Kind of eye-opening.

We wound through more streets, heard some folklore about Copenhagen, saw fountains and statues and where the locals hung out vs. the tourists and we ended our tour at Bertels Salon, a cheesecake shop that has won the Best Cake award twice (and they’ve only handed out the prize twice).

Hygge & Happiness Tour

Hygge & Happiness Tour

The drinks were included in the tour but if we wanted cake, we’d have to purchase that ourselves, however after the chocolate and pastries – none of us wanted more sweets.

We also learned:

Hygge is pronounced like “HOO-GA” but even more like “HUGH-Ga” … you need the dirty u, in the back of your throat.

Bike theft is the biggest allotment for crime in the city, and almost no one locks up their bike. (It’s very safe)

The Little Mermaid is actually a very disturbing story. Disney colors things in rainbows (which I guess I knew, but also had no idea there were original versions so different than the Disney ones, go figure)

King Christian IV had a reign of 60 years, but was appointed at age 11. He was eccentric and named streets after things that probably weren’t a thing in Copenhagen at the time (Lemon Balm, being one of them. Elephant, Crocodile etc being other street names)

Copenhagen is for families

Coffee + Croissant before transit, Grøndal stop

We started out our morning (March 27th) with a coffee from what I would call a subway station. Train station? It’s a stop on the train at Grøndal and they only take Danish currency or bank cards, so we could finally stop here on our way out today after getting some money exchanged. We also didn’t get out of the house until after 1pm, jet lag is still keeping us on our toes.

So our adventures were mostly in the Halmortvet area of Copenhagen, also what’s known as their “meat packing district”. We dined in a couple of the best places, and now we’ll eat cheerios for a week 🙂

Our first meal of the day was around 3pm, we went to Mother and shared two pizzas. So delicious! Reminds me of Midici back home.

After breakfastlunch (?) we found a park to play in, we had planned on going to the aquarium today but when it didn’t turn out to be a rainy day and we decided to wait until after our tour (today) to activate our Copenhagen cards – we had some disappointed kids on our hands. So we found a park and everyone remembered they were kids, again.


The park is called Skydebanehaven and you walk through this HUGE brick gate? wall? castle? into this courtyard of playthings and giggling.




We got to use google translator to talk to some boys who were playing soccer and our son joined in. No one understood each other, but they knew what to do with their feet – and that was all that mattered. We had been waiting for Kødbyens Fiskebar to open, which was our whole reason for being in this area to begin with, but we still had time to kill so we just went slow. Played in the street, read books on benches, waited.

Streets of Copenhagen





It was time … Kødbyens Fiskebar opened and we were among the first to sit down. As a table, we tried: 1/2 dozen oysters (I have on video the kids’ reactions to trying these for the first time. It’s everything you hope it would be.), fish and chips, king crab with amazing layers of flavors that they told us all about and all I can remember is “THE KING CRAB” as an exclamation on our dinner. It was so good. We also tried the blue mussels. And beer.

Kødbyens Fiskebar

Kødbyens Fiskebar

Kødbyens Fiskebar

Kødbyens Fiskebar

Kødbyens Fiskebar

We walked back to Copenhagens “central station” to buy bus tickets to get back home and that, in itself, is always an escapade. There was actual running after a bus, but the wrong bus, which we boarded (totally out of breath) and got off one stop later only to walk back to the Copenhagen station and start all over.

We made it back home, a little fuller than we left, with sore feet and a take-home cake from the grocery store (think Little Debbie) to share. The kids went to sleep easy and we read books for a while before finally closing our eyes knowing we’d have to wake up to an alarm today to get out in time for our tour.

I haven’t quite figured out the french press coffee maker at this house, but I haven’t stopped trying. Here’s to another day of firsts!

How to feel softer

The amount of posts I’ve started writing during a storm are probably outnumbered by any other criteria for this space. We are experiencing a good ol’ fashion cleanse from the Winter here in West Michigan, right now. This minute. The skies opened with a crack and she has been pouring it on us for minutes. Which, when you’re still enough, feels like hours.

And. It. Is. Glorious.

I have my “Hallelujah” playlist on Spotify playing in the background. Ok, the foreground. Because it’s LOUD. The rain is the staccato behind everything else.

I can’t tell you why I love the rain so much. I always have. I remember the smell of the rain in Nigeria and the dust rising as it pounded the earth right outside of our screened porch. Everything got dirty, which was funny, because rain usually cleans things off. But in Africa – everything is dirt and dry and still. Until it rains. And then everything is sprayed in the evidence that the earth can still give birth.

So, hi. It’s been awhile since I’ve ripped off a bandaid and bled here. Not that this is what I do here, on the regular. But I miss having a space to chronicle parts of my life I want to remember. The gritty, the dirty, the salvation of it all. I want to see pools of blood to recognize where the healing came from.

Parenting is a constant in my life. We’re raising kids and we went from the Easter-Basket phase to the Barf-On-The-Side-Of-The-Road phase. We are constantly hungover from parenting.

It’s still sublime, I’m obsessed with my kids. I love them so much, it actually hurts. But also? I lose my religion on the daily. I wonder if we’ve done everything wrong, often. I fret over things that are not actually connected to me, but because my kid(s) are experiencing it – I do too. I continue to have weird correlations with their ages, although less and less with such a force of personal reconciliation and more, now, with a reckoning of understanding that I was not ever, nor was I ever going to be, prepared for this.

Sometimes Aaron and I will think back to when we were first married and we just laugh. I had nieces and nephews, I was an avid babysitter and caregiver. We had our shit together, or so we thought. And then we had our own kids – and it’s adorable, really. I’m so glad we were so blind about it, to be completely honest. How pure and unfretted and rare it was to walk into being a mother without fear. It was everything I ever wanted. To be pregnant and have babies and raise a family. God. Yes.

Still is.

Is it harder now because it’s almost over? Because I don’t know who I am, without them, any more? Because I can see down the road and the next exit is college? I know where this is going. They are going to grow up and our of my house. Out of my immediate care. She is going to fall in love and he is going to run so fast towards his goals we won’t know he left until he’s already out the door. They’re going to leave.

I want them to. They need to. This is healthy. This is what we want, what we’re working towards. And they can always come back, oh I hope they come back. But they’re going to leave. They will outgrow this house and our traditions and memories and they’ll brave a new trail and make their own paths and I’ll be the first one on the sidelines to cheer my fool-head off at them. I can’t wait.

It’s going to be so good.

It is.

But it’s going to be so soon. And I’m a mess about it. It’s not over yet and I’m mourning the end. It has been the most delight I’ve ever experienced in all of my life, to be a mother. Their mother.

I wonder if we’ll remember the smell of this rain. How it baptized me from everything still and dry and dirty and left the evidence all over my life that I gave birth …

to them.

Mothers Day 2008

As I end this post the song ‘I Get To Love You‘ by Ruelle is playing, and it’s everything.


Wilderness State Park

This year for Spring Break we headed North. Did I want to go to sunny Florida? Georgia, even? Um, I live in Michigan so that answer is automatically 100% yes. But! We did something different and it was awesome, too. Much colder, snowy even, but a blast nonetheless.

Spring Break 2018

Our kids are 13 and nine and while I used to make things like the Summer Jar for school breaks, I’ve broken that habit since moving in to our current house almost 6 years ago. Sad, but true. This past year has been a difficult one, full of stops and changing plans when we thought everything was green light GO! It wrecked a piece of me for a while, I can’t lie to you. And then a couple weeks ago I decided to literally fuck it and took my life back. We’ve been living in limbo, in the ‘not there yet’ and ‘no longer here’ for way too long. A bunch of wait, so much of “when X happens, or Y starts, or Z is done” we’ll finally be able to / get to / go there.

And traveling is one of the many things we’ve been putting off for good reasons until I couldn’t justify them anymore and it was time to escape.


Waking up like this

Pour over, slow mornings

My husband spends a few nights at Wilderness State Park every year with the same group of guys. This year will be the 20th year consecutively that they winter together, in the woods. As our kids have gotten older and more curious – they’ve expressed interest in seeing what he does every year. So, we went!

Snow was in the forecast and my kids forgot their winter coats (my son forgot a coat entirely), I forgot my camera (hence the iphone photos here), we forgot to pack things like the french press and a pan for boiling water. You know. Essentials. But we remembered the coffee and the fruit and cheese.

We stopped on our way up to buy a pour-over 1 cup coffee brewer (and it worked like magic) and a few other things.

A love letter // a short list of things we forgot: *Upon entering Wilderness State Park, Oliver proclaimed he didn’t pack a coat. (It’s snowing) *Something to brew coffee, but we remembered the coffee. *Something to boil water in, but we remembered someth

Hikes, hikes, and more hikes

We hiked and saw the tee-pee my husband and his friends built years and years and years ago, and it’s still standing. We hiked over little bridges and creeks and found beavers’ dens. We walked out as far as I could handle with my best friend anxiety riding shot-gun on the ice of Lake Michigan, and we played rock ball in the freezing rain.

The Tee-pee Aaron and his buddies built almost 20 years ago

Playing "rock ball"

Free range

There was a lot of cooking over coals, an incident with the Whirly-pop and a lot of smoke, the dinner I turned into charcoal, and the naps and reading and coffee and games and laughing. There was a lot of laughing.

Playing games

Spring Break 2018

When making popcorn over hot coals inside means you get smoked out ... unless you’re a die hard popcorn fan.

Playing "rock ball" 2018

Spring Break 2018

It was a great escape. We stayed in the Sturgeon Bay Cabin and we’re able to drive in (not always the case, and had we not been able to it would have been a 3 mile hike in to the cabin), they supply the firewood for the wood-burning stove and a couple of rolls of toilet paper – but the rest is up to you. Bedding, all dinnerware and cookware, food and drink. The cabin is dry, no running water, and there’s an outhouse for yo’ business time.

But it was breathtaking and worth every effort.

Spring Break 2018
[Click on image above to play video]


*Reservations for Wilderness State Park
*Wilderness State Park Trail Map
*Helpful information and other camping options


Before there were babies on the scene, I started hard-coding a weblog back in the day because I was mysterious like that, liked to write, thought I had interesting things to say, and liked a boy who could code.

The entry I can remember the most was about plastic water bottles and pondering the tough questions about whether or not water could actually “go bad”. Such originality. What educated talking points.

It is physically impossible to roll my eyes in the back of my head as far as I would like to for the effect needed of being entirely embarrassed and over myself for that period of my life. Which I documented. Out loud. On the internet.

There was a small break from my weblog days of yore to the infancy of this here website – what started as a “bump watch” for family became what we know today as jodimichelle.com.

That bump, if we can remember that far back, is about to turn thirteen.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Twelve. THIRTEEN.

The archives throughout the years are still here, albeit maybe a tad difficult to search. But they’re here, nonetheless. The teeny baby parent I started out as at the bright and shiny age of 21 is a bubble gum version full of raw pain, neglect, and heartbreak. And again, all of which I documented. Out loud. On the internet.

In the middle of it all, I was asked over and over again why I was so brave with my pain. Why was I so vulnerable? And over and over again I answered, “What else am I supposed to be?” That was real, then. That was my life. Torn and broken and bright and beautiful and full of life and longing and grief.

Now my little lady is about to come out to the world. She’s going to show up and color outside the lines and dance with abandon and wear her heart on her sleeve and cry and weep and laugh and achieve. God, she’s magnificent. She wants to sit at the table, THIS table, and start partaking. She’s ready to let the world in.

I’ve stopped sharing about my kids unless I have their permission. Something I wish I had thought of sooner. But here we are with chronicled little miracles throughout her life in writing. And her mother, fumbling through the task of growing up while raising her at the same time. It’s all there, here. For whoever wants to put their nose up to the glass of our little window and peer inside. I’ve let strangers in to my home. And, too late, I’ve discovered at what cost.

Not regret, necessarily. But she’s about to start controlling the scope of what she shares of her life. And it will all be public. When I was 13 and loved dancing in the mirror in my bedroom to Shania Twain – I did not have a public record of the boots I wore, my belly button, or the weird dance moves I thought were legit. I couldn’t stop taking photos of myself or friends, with FILM in a camera, but thank you Jesus, that there isn’t an Instagram history of my middle school years. The truth or dare sleepovers we had, the pranks we pulled, the notes I wrote.

Heaven have mercy, there is no lasting evidence of the stupid things I did or notes I penned.

Social media is a complex game these days and it’s all too important to her age group. I’ve been delighted that she doesn’t even care yet. But she will, she’s starting to. There’s a rage monster inside of me when it comes to my kids. And the fever builds to blinding when I watch them try to be brave in the face of rejection from peers. They bury it, don’t let it show. The minute someone shames them or casts them aside or mistreats them – I have violent flashbacks to the first time they took a breath, laying on my chest; it cuts to breastfeeding them in the middle of the night and hearing them giggle for the first time. Their first word, first steps … firsts. It’s a movie in my head and they’re the stars. One bright light after the next: moment after moment after moment. Building to the very moment where instead of stepping in, I have to step aside.

Thirteen. Not always, but as it happens for us, this is the year she gets the reigns. And it’s beautiful and wonderful and I wish I could tell you all about it. But it’s her turn. This is her story.

And what a lovely story it’s been.

Happy Birthday, baby girl.

Me pregnant with Jessica

I’m kind of obsessed with you 🙂